WHAT´S A CSA AND TEIKEI COOPERATION?

by | Apr 13, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

提携- Teikei in Japanese means “cooperation”, “joint business”, or “link-up”. In reference to CSA, it is commonly associated with the slogan “food with the farmer’s face on it”! It is made up with two characters that make an action: to give one’s hand.

The Japan Organic Agriculture Association (JOAA), founded in 1971, describes teikei as “an idea to create an alternative distribution system, not depending on the conventional market. Though the forms of teikei vary, it is basically a direct distribution system. To carry it out, the producer(s) and the consumer(s) have talks and contact to deepen their mutual understanding: both of them provide labor and capital to support their own delivery system…. Teikei is not only a practical idea but also a dynamic philosophy to make people think of a better way of life either as a producer or as a consumer through their interaction.”

What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a valuable way for the community to become involved in where their food is coming from. At its core there is a mutual commitment: the farm feeds the people fresh and nutritious whole foods and, in turn, the people support the farm. Together, the farmer and the farm supporters share in the inherent risks and potential bounty of farm life.

CSAs have evolved to fit many different models but the basic structure works like this: during the late winter and early spring months, when the farmer needs money to purchase seeds and other supplies for the season, members of the local community purchase CSA shares. In other words, they buy their vegetables for the entire season in advance. Then every week or every other week, depending on what type of share they purchased, they receive a share of the produce from the farm.

The concept of Community Supported Agriculture was first modeled in Japan when, a group of women concerned with the use of pesticides and with the increasing consumption of processed foods cooperated with local farmers to ensure the consistent supply of local, healthy, and fresh food. This food movement was known in Japan by the name teikei, meaning, “partnership” or “cooperation.” The more philosophical definition of teikei is translated as “food with the farmer’s face on it.” Robyn Van En, the woman known for bringing the concept of teikei to the United States and who, in collaboration with Jan Vandertuin and John Root Jr., named it Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) takes this definition a step further. As Robyn Van En sums it up: “food producers + food consumers + annual commitment to one another = CSA and untold possibilities.”

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